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Kidney Stones

A common condition affecting up to 10 percent of people, kidney stones form when tiny minerals in urine become concentrated. Oklahoma’s hot summer climate increases kidney stone risk because you may not drink enough water to flush these minerals from urine before stones form. Talk with OU Health urologists about steps you can take to prevent or treat kidney stones.

Symptoms & Diagnosis

When actively passing a kidney stone, especially a very large stone, you may experience back pain, painful urination, blood in urine, fever, nausea and vomiting. Small stones may pass on their own with observation, but severe symptoms require diagnosis, typically by CT scan (preferred for greater detail), X-ray or ultrasound, followed by prompt treatment.

Kidney Stone Treatments

Appropriate treatment depends on size and location of the stone and may include:

  • Extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy (ESWL) – Least-invasive common treatment technology; does not require incisions or scopes; uses sound/shock waves guided by real-time X-ray imaging to break stone into tiny pieces that can pass through urine pain free; typically allows a quick return home and back to work
  • Ureteroscopy with laser lithotripsy – For small stones; uses endoscopic device inserted into bladder and miniature image-guided laser to break stone into small pieces for removal through urine
  • Percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL) – For larger stones inside kidney; minimally invasive procedure using small incision through the back; tiny instruments break up stone and remove pieces; typically requires overnight hospital stay with or without drainage tube and 1-2 weeks for at-home recovery

Urethral Stricture Treatments

Depending on the length and location of the narrowing, your doctor will determine the best treatments options for your specific situation, such as:

  • Endoscopic management approaches – Common treatments include dilation (special instruments stretch open the stricture) or direct vision internal urethrotomy (laser or knife cuts the stricture); best options if stricture is short and in a reachable location, if it’s your first attempt at treatment or if you’re unable or unwilling to undergo surgery
  • Reconstructive surgery – Potentially curative or a longer-term option, especially if multiple dilations haven’t resolved the issue; typically involves removing scarred urethra and replacing or adding with a graft; minimally invasive by OU Health fellowship-trained urethral reconstruction surgeons using small incision for highly technical operations; typically requires 1- to 2-day hospital stay